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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (Thursday, 10 December 2009) . . Page.. 5706 ..

does this relate to multiculturalism? In the ACT an individual’s right to full and active participation, access and equity and community connectedness are the building blocks of multiculturalism. So the law protects the rights of individuals and as a government we must build on those rights because a community is much more than a group of isolated individuals. A famous poet once said, “No man is an island.” This government has a sense of community where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The multicultural strategy takes advantage of our current standing as a harmonious society and includes the crucial underpinnings of our protective laws, supportive policy settings and inclusive and collaborative approach. With this strategy we will improve the social, economic and community lives of all Canberrans.

The ACT multicultural strategy 2010-13 clearly outlines measurable actions and key performance indicators which will support a whole of government framework for the delivery of programs; increased participation for all Canberrans with multicultural backgrounds in social, economic and community life; opportunities to celebrate and showcase multiculturalism and the various traditions and cultures that constitute the ACT community; improved access and equity in the provision of services for individuals from multicultural backgrounds who choose to live in the ACT; and greater leadership within government, community and business sectors to advance multiculturalism in the ACT through engaging with, participating in and promoting the diversity of our community.

The strategy has six focus areas developed and decided upon in conjunction with the community and these six focus areas are languages; children and young people; older people and aged care; women; refugees, asylum seekers and humanitarian entrants; and intercultural harmony and religious acceptance.

There has been an extensive consultation process that has led to the development and tabling of this key policy document, championed by none other than you, Mr Assistant Speaker Hargreaves, and I thank you for your significant contribution and support towards our multicultural community. Indeed, preparations for the ACT multicultural strategy 2010-13 commenced in August 2008 with the ACT government hosting a multicultural summit. This summit provided the opportunity for hundreds of members of the multicultural community, as well as representatives from community organisations, to come together to share ideas on the way forward for multicultural affairs in the ACT.

In 2008 and again in 2009 we conducted two formal community consultative processes on draft versions of the strategy and the strategy was revitalised as a result. Not only have we listened to the community; we have acted on suggestions put forward. A key example is improved accountability on the government’s approach to multicultural affairs. You will note that an annual report will be published against key performance indicators specified in the strategy for the multicultural community to see progress towards the strategy. This is an important accountability measure for government and one we welcome. We will also report in our agency annual reports on the implementation of programs which are targeted towards and are of great benefit to the multicultural community.

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